Save Your Shoulder by Adjusting Your Swing
Don't let that shoulder twinge become something more serious—follow these tips from Kory Koontz.
Kory Koontz swinging rope toward roping dummy
Kory Koontz demonstrates an efficient swing that requires less energy but still has power. | Courtesy Kory Koontz

A slight adjustment to your swing could save your shoulder to keep you roping—even with a little wear and tear—and keep you catching for more trips to the pay window, too

You don’t need a ton of wrist motion

People get to feeling like they have to use a ton of wrist to get their loops to turn over. They lengthen their arm out to the right, and they get their thumb down to turn their loop over. But when you do that, you pop your elbow up, and you put your shoulder in a bind.

Koontz’s solution

I like to teach a little different wrist rotation and arm position to ropers who find their shoulders are getting sore.

READ MORE: Team Ropers Still Competing in Their 80s

Shoulder and arm position

I teach ropers to keep their elbows even with their shoulders, and to keep their wrists above their shoulders. When your elbow is no higher than your shoulder, and your hand is above your head, you make a circle with your wrist above your elbow. In that position, you can build power in your swing without having to try very hard. I’ve found that a lot of older people who have shoulder problems get relief like this. 

Wrist control 

You just have to rotate your thumb down when you come across the target—the target, heading, is the right horn or the middle of the head, and, heeling, it’s the middle of the back. I want my loop to come flat across the target and then turn. I start turning my thumb down as it’s crossing the middle of the steer. You can get flat across and then turn your thumb down as you come across where the steer’s head is.

READ MORE: Making Sure Your Shoulder Doesn’t Take You Out

No shame in this game

A lot of the best guys swing like that. The hand can get out in front of the elbow, but it draws back over the elbow before you deliver. In the swing, the hand is coming back over top of the elbow. It doesn’t just stay out front. You can have power without trying very hard. TRJ

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